Dogs and Walking
We have all been plagued by dogs running loose on a public footpath and non-dog lovers find it particularly uncomfortable. (See The Bunkhouse > Your Walking Stories > Dogged on Winter Hill for just one example.)
While dog owners are entitled to walk their dogs along rights of way, they must ensure their pets do not become a menace to other users.
Dog owners have a responsibility to ensure their dog is kept under control at all times, just as one would if walking a dog along a busy road. They should not let the dog foul the right of way, farmland or any place that the public may use. If a dog injures a person, animal or property, the dog's owner may be liable for damages.
Dog owners should take extra care in areas where there are other farm animals or poultry to ensure their animal is not guilty of 'worrying the livestock'. A dog that is simply in a field where there is livestock and not on a lead (or under close control) can be regarded as 'worrying livestock'. If a dog is guilty of 'worrying livestock' then the dog owner may be liable to prosecution, fined and ordered to pay compensation, and the dog itself can be destroyed.
A landowner can also shoot and kill any dog that 'appears' out of control and worrying sheep.
Remember, while you may feel your canine friend is as soppy as anything and wouldn't hurt a fly, other people may find the prospect of your dog running towards them and/or sniffing them as terrifying.